What to keep in mind when owning a furry friend

Jessica Hodge

Most people have had a goldfish sometime in their childhood, maybe for a couple weeks until your parents made you flush it down the toilet, or maybe it lived longer than that and you had it for a few years.

Either way, owning a pet is a special kind of feeling. You feel responsible for another life and it’s exciting, in a weird kind of way.

Obviously the dorms at Grand Valley don’t allow pets, but if you move off campus, there are some complexes that let you have animals. And all of a sudden, the prospect of having a cute puppy or a kitten roaming around with you sounds like a ton of fun. But would it really be the best decision for you, or for the animal?

That all depends on the type of animal you want to get. Cats can be pretty relaxed creatures, but they tend to scratch at everything and you’ll have to pay for the walls that are destroyed by the end of the year. Dogs are man’s best friend, but they sure do like the couch cushions too. Yet another thing you’ll have to pay for if they decide to tear that up while you’re at class.

Damage control is not the only expense you will have to pay for an animal either. First, there’s the adoption fee, anywhere form $50 to $150 for one animal. Then, you’ll want your new pet to get a check up and make sure they’re healthy and up to date on their shots. That will be another chunk of money out of your pocket. And then there is the food, toys, bedding and any other sort of accessories you can think of to make the animal happy.

Yes, that’s a lot of money, is there anything good a pet can give you?

Yes, of course! They will provide you with a great companionship and a lot of fun in your life. Animals can also be beneficial to your mental health.

I actually got a bunny this year because I live alone. His name is Hector, and he makes my lonely apartment a little less lonely. Every time I come home, he jumps up and down with happiness. He runs circles around my feet, which is a sign of affection, when I give him his favorite treat: carrots and lettuce. He sits on my lap when I do my homework (and occasionally chews on it) and provides a great distraction when my brain is fried from so much studying. Even though he is a little picky and sometimes a nuisance, he ultimately makes my life more entertaining and lively.

The right animal can be perfect for you and make your life much more enjoyable. The wrong animal, however, could be very detrimental for you and for the animal. You must be 100 percent sure that you are ready to take on an animal and that you can devote enough money and attention to them.